Yesterday, the President stated his intention to protect the planet the best he can without pissing anyone off. Good luck with that.
Actually we see this all of the time from politicians because often there are painful consequences from the choices we make. Base reductions and closures always impact the communities around them. School consolidations and closures impact neighborhood families. I get that. Of course, there are jobs to be created in adapting to new energy sources, but a coal miner will tend toward continuing to mine coal.
The thing is that we know that carbon fuels are a finite resource, that harvesting those fuels adversely impacts the environment, and that consuming those fuels adversely impacts the environment. The question is only: when will we stop harvesting those fuels.
The problem is that a lot of us earn our daily bread from the harvesting and consuming of those fuels.
How many more mountains will we decap for their coal? How much contamination of groundwater will we accept from fracking for natural gas? What environmental loss will we accept to get that last barrel of oil to send to the highest bidder? Do we make this the last carbon-burning generation? The next?
Who then to address the question? I still believe that if the Obama administration had led in 2009 with a plan for universal health care we’d have one in place; but he didn’t and we don’t because, after the first ten months, everyone in the House starts working on reelection. If we go into 2013 with the President protecting Democratic seats in preference to the environment, there will be no major changes in environmental protection. He’s the only one in Washington with nothing to lose by taking the lead.